Let’s be honest, we are not as healthy as we could be. Even those of us who try to be healthy could benefit from being a little more healthy. Well, this article has 10 WAYS TO STAY HEALTHY.
Often overlooked when talking about health, oxygen is the most important thing for our bodies. We can go weeks without food, days without water, but try holding your breath and you will quickly learn the importance of oxygen. Think of it- if your health is ever in need of help (going to the hospital, having a very old body, etc) oxygen is administered to help your body function. It helps everything. Unfortunately, due to pollution and deforestation, the oxygen levels in our air have been decreasing. So, we need to supplement our oxygen intake, which can be done in a few ways that do not require hauling around a heavy O2 tank.
When we exercise, we breathe deeply. This forces oxygen into our blood and muscles, improving overall body function. The benefits of exercise are numerable and essential for maintaining health. In case you were unaware of how incredible the benefits of exercise are, check out this video; it might change your life.
For thousands of years the benefits of yoga have been known. One of the main reasons yoga is so beneficial is that it helps put more oxygen into the body. If you can think of your body as a wrinkled shirt, yoga helps to iron out all the wrinkles. This helps oxygen flow more efficiently to all your extremities. Also, yoga improves lung capacity, which, of course, means more oxygen. Further, yoga can help increase your strength, posture, and flexibility. Through the practice of yoga, more oxygen is brought to the brain. This helps to improve mood and concentration. Try it right now; do some good stretches then relax and feel a rush of endorphins and well-being.
The benefits of meditation are quite extensive, including: decreased stress, depression, anxiety, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, hypertension, and increased immune function, DHEA (an anti-aging hormone), and overall sense of well-being. This list goes on and on and there are hundreds of scientific studies documenting the benefits, but we are looking at the specific benefit of helping the body to use oxygen more efficiently. Meditation helps us to use the oxygen in our body in a more effective and helpful manner. Also, many meditation techniques involve deep breathing exercises. To learn more about mediation check out this article:
4-Drink More Water
Since our bodies are mostly water, by constantly changing in the water, it will lead to better health. Just like water in a fish bowl, the less we change it, the dirtier it gets. Water helps to flush out toxins, so by not drinking enough water, we are actually poisoning ourselves. Unfortunately, the average person is dehydrated. We do not drink nearly as much water as we should. But how much water should we drink? Well, the environment, how much we sweat, and our diet, all contribute to the appropriate amount; however, a simple rule is the 8 by 8. This means drink 8 glasses that contain 8 ounces water, or a half gallon a day. However, if you drink coffee, tea, or alcohol, all these beverages dehydrate you so you should drink water. If you exercise, you should drink more water. If your climate is dry, you should drink more water. If you eat processed food, you should drink more water. If you are tired, you should drink more water (the #1 cause of fatigue is mild dehydration). Just so the message is clear- Drink More Water!
Shocking as it might be, the quality of our food directly reflects the quality of your health. If we are to get healthier, we need to eat healthier food and adopt healthy eating habits. First, avoid hopping on the bandwagon and going on a trendy diet. If you want to lose weight, you just need to burn more calories than you are eating. It is as simple as that. To keep the systems of our bodies more balanced, it is better to eat six small meals instead of three big meals. However, we need to be mindful to not snack on junk food.
5- Eat Raw and Organic Food
Too often we make food choices based on convenience, but luckily, eating raw fruits and veggies is quick and easy. Also, they are packed with the nutrition our body needs to function properly and contain powerful antioxidants which helps remove toxins and free radicals. Aim to eat as organic as possible. This means the food was not sprayed with poisonous pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, are increasingly being sold in grocery stores. Often, these have had pesticide genetically added to the plant itself. So, this is why I would suggest eating organic, unless you don’t mind eating food that causes insect stomachs to explode.
6- No Soda or Artificial Sweeteners
Sodas are primarily sugar and acid. They can increase fat build up around the liver and bones and increases risk of diabetes. They can accelerate the aging process and cause cancer. The likely hood that the corn syrup came from GMO corn is pretty high. Some turn to “diet” soda which is loaded with artificial sweetener. Ironically, diet soda causes the body to develop a large gut. A 10-year study by the University of Texas Health Science Center discovered that subjects who drank more than two diet sodas a day had a 500% waist expansion! Artificial sweeteners are extremely unhealthy. Rather than showing studies of how horrible they are for your health, I would like to suggest some natural sweeteners; honey, molasses, maple syrup, stevia, agave, and brown rice syrup. So, if you want a sweet, please pick one that is not poisonous to your health.
7- Sleep Enough
To this day, scientists do not know exactly why we need sleep, but if we don’t sleep we will die. We can easily recognize the benefits of getting a full night sleep, and probably easier feel the effects if we do not get enough. Often to make it through the day, we consume stimulants to help us with the lack of sleep. Although caffeine can help suppress sleepiness, it actually puts a great deal of stress on the body. But even if we don’t have that cup of coffee, our lack of sleep will catch up with us. Adults should get around 8 hours a night, but remember, everybody is different. However, sleep should be done in total darkness, wear a sleep mask if necessary, but even a tiny amount of light can upset the chemical balance necessary for a body to get quality sleep. Having a set sleep schedule is also beneficial. Our sleep occurs in cycles, they body likes it this way. This even includes sleeping at the same time every day. Working out can help improve the quality of one’s sleep. And getting adequate sleep can prevent over eating too!
When discussing ways to be healthy, the role of one’s attitude is rarely discussed. The most chronic medical problem in the US is high blood pressure. Of course diet and lifestyle play a huge role in hypertension, so does stress. So, if we could positively affect our stress levels and overall well-being, we can reduce the negative impacts stress has on our bodies, including hypertension.
8- Laugh More
To quote the comedian Jack Handy, “Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis”. Obviously is this is a (dark humored) joke, however it demonstrates a strength of laughter of turning even the worst situations into ones that are at least a little more tolerable. Humor can diffuse conflict and help us connect with other people. Health wise, laughter can offer us some wonderful health benefits. Laughter can decrease stress and physical tension up to 45 minutes after laughing. It helps to relieve fear and anxiety and improve mood. Having a good, hearty laugh can decrease pain, boost immunity, and even prevent heart disease. So, try to make it a point to increase how often you laugh- for your health!
9- Stay Positive
If we want to live long, healthy lives, why don’t we just ask those who have lived the longest, healthiest lives what they did? According to centurions (people who live more than 100 years), aside from staying active, maintaining a positive mental attitude was the most important factor to staying healthy. Staying positive and optimistic seems to be the mental states which correlate with optimum health. The more we can practice and learn how to maintain a positive mental attitude, the better off our health will be J
Balance is the key to health. Even being unhealthy can be good, because it is balance. Okay that sounds weird, but if we never got sick, we would never have the antibodies to fight off infection. Remember having the chicken pox as a small kid, well getting them as an adult can kill you! But more importantly with balance, is moderation. Yes, we might have a vice, such as enjoying wine, well having a glass or two is actually healthy for your heart. However, too much wine and your body will remind you it was unhealthy the next morning. Also, we need to stay balanced with our professional and personal lives. We have to make money, but we also need to spend time with the kids. We need to do chores but we also need to hang out with friends. Many studies show that people with many friends actually get sick less than those who do not. Remember, being healthy is about our quality of life. The secret is achieving a balance.